In partnership with the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), eight New Zealand students recently returned from an amazing week in Medellín, Colombia.  

As with the Entrepreneurship in Brazil programme in December, these students were selected through the Latin America-themed YES Entrepreneurship in Action business challenge in 2018. The students spent a week learning about entrepreneurship, culture, and language in one of Latin America’s most innovation-focused cities, Medellín 

We were fortunate enough to partner with one of Colombia’s leading universities, Universidad EAFIT. Being at the university campus allowed the students to gain a feel for university life in Colombia, and they had at hand a fantastic network of academics in the innovation and entrepreneurship space, plus four Colombian students who spent the entire week with the NZ students 

One focus for the students was preparation for the business challenge event at the end of the week. As part of the challenge, teams comprised of two NZ students and one Colombian student had to use their business acumen and cultural knowledge to win over the judges. Throughout the week, the students visited a range of businesses in Medellín to shape their understanding of doing business in Colombia.

Other highlights included a visit from the Bogota-based NZ Embassy and NZTE representatives, and a visit to the reinvented neighbourhood Comuna 13, which has undergone a huge historical and political transformation over the last few years. Students also enjoyed a fantastic series of Spanish language and Colombian culture classes to kick-start each morning at the EAFIT Language School. For example, a common way of asking someone if they want a coffee in Colombia is ¿Le provoca un tinto? This is confusing to even native Spanish speakers - tinto literally means red wine! 

It was a pleasure to see the students learn and grow so much in only a week, and the feedback from parents has been fantastic. Look out for our individual student reflections in next month's newsletter. 

Some of the business visits included: 

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Ruta N

The innovation and business centre of Medellín, Ruta N is a corporation created to promote the development of innovative technology-based businesses that increase the competitiveness of the city and the region.


This highly successful Argentine-born technology company now has 37 offices in 13 countries around the world. The Medellín office, which started in Ruta N in 2013, now has 890 employees.  

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Portafolio Verde

Founded in July 2005, this consultancy firm researches, develops, and implements sustainable development solutions and strategies for governments, organisations and individuals.

Mani Bros Peanut Butter and Hija Mia Coffee Roasters

Owned and run by two Kiwi entrepreneurs, Dan and Shaun have built a sustainable artisanal peanut butter laboratory in Medellín. They also own Hija Mia Coffee Roasters, the first Kiwi coffee shop and home of the famous flat white in Colombia.

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Check out highlights from the trip in the photo album and video created by the Latin America CAPE/YES Entrepreneurship in Colombia students:



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